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Hopefully "Live" Ryndam Athens to Tampa 2014


Mtn2Sea
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Greetings! I'm not making any promises, but hopefully I'll be able to do a live report while cruising on the beautiful MS Ryndam from Athens, Greece to Tampa, Florida. Of course, how regularly I post will depend on the ship's internet, so don't get alarmed (or call the Navy to look for the Ryn) if I don't report in each day. If you've read my previous reviews, you know I try to include photos that are representative of our cruise experience. Since our last cruise, I've purchased a new camera body (Nikon D7100), which hopefully isn't too complicated for this amateur photographer. I'll be resizing the photos, so hopefully my review won't be too slow in loading for you; however, if the pages are coming up too slowly, you can turn off images in your User CP, which is within Edit Options. The photos then show up in the text as a code, which you click on if you want to look at the picture.

 

We left Florida just before noon on Tuesday, with layovers in Atlanta and Amsterdam. We arrived in Athens around 12:30 PM on Wednesday. Our flights were without incident, but the food left a lot to be desired! This is the first time we've purchased air through HAL - it was so much cheaper than anything I could find for a one way ticket in my online search. We are now sitting in our Athens hotel room, which we also booked through HAL, also a first for us. I was so excited when our PCC told us the price for airfare that I agreed to the hotel arrangement. In the past, we've stayed at the Athens Ledra Hotel, using our Marriott points. The Ledra is now an independent hotel, but is still being used by HAL. We chose to stay at their other hotel choice, the Novotel. Although not as nice as the Ledra, it's adequate. The rooms are on the small side with a modern design. We're staying three nights in the hope that we get over the worst of our jet lag prior to boarding the Ryndam on Saturday. One thing about getting your hotel through HAL means you don 't have to worry about getting transportation to the hotel. Just after picking up our luggage, we saw a HAL rep holding a sign with our name. The driver of a Mercedes, who is Greek but born in Connecticut, appeared shortly thereafter and took our luggage. He got us to the hotel without too much traffic excitement. Our intent was to stay up and go to bed early to start recovering from our jet lag, but we crashed. We woke up in time to go to the hotel's restaurant for dinner, which is the first decent food we've had since our trip began. Here's the view we had from our table.

 

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Our cruise, which HAL calls Aegean and Spanish Farewell, is for 36 nights and is the longest cruise we've ever taken. When I said that to a friend, he commented "Well, that's a good start." He and his wife are doing their third world cruise beginning this January. Maybe one day . . . .

 

Here's a map showing our itinerary. We've been to some of these ports, but many are new for us.

 

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Until later!

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Very jealous. We were on the Ryndam in Sept. and really enjoyed it. Your

itinerary looks great. Have a great time. I will say that the internet was ridiculously slow. Staff was great. Loved walking the promenade. Dining room

food was pretty good.

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Our intent was to get up in time for breakfast, but that didn't happen! We were able to get our act together in time to find a small restaurant near the hotel for lunch. We walked only a block or two before we spotted a small place that had kabobs (something we recognized on the menu). Our hotel is located in a typical part of Athens. Here's a photo showing a nearby street.

 

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After lunch, we then walked to the National Archaeological Museum, which is about ten minutes from the hotel.

 

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After paying 7 Euros/person, we began our trek through time, beginning around 6 BC. There were more exhibits to see than energy in our jet lagged bodies. We soaked up as much knowledge as we could for four hours and then decided we needed to retrace our path back to the hotel before darkness fell. Here's some pics from our walk through the museum.

 

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So glad you will be posting from our favorite ship, the beautiful Ryndam. I will be looking forward to seeing all these great ports through your eyes (and camera lens!)

 

Hope you will post some shots of the ship itself. Still can't believe she has been sold :(, and since I'm not sure I will be able to take a last cruise on her, I will especially enjoy pictures of her. :)

 

Have a wonderful cruise!!

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Hi Robert,

Thanks for your live-from blog.....Seeing your photos brings back many memories of the fantastic sites to visit in Athens.

 

In addition, I will be joining the ship in Barcelona and it is a thrill to follow my fellow passengers as you all work your way through the Aegean and then west to Barcelona (I haven't started packing yet).

 

We are seriously considering the Ryndam's final sail from Venice to Singapore next October...I sure hate saying goodbye to her!

 

So, bring it on, can't wait to hear your tales.

 

Susan

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We had another enjoyable dinner at the hotel's rooftop restaurant last night, where we met two of our fellow passengers (the tables are close together). This morning we managed to get going early enough to have breakfast at the hotel's first floor restaurant. The buffet (the only choice) was varied and more than ample for us. For today's touring, we decided to go to the Acropolis Museum. In 2005, we went to the old museum, which was located right next to the Parthenon, and thought we would be going to the new museum in 2007 & 2008, but we were told both times the new museum would be "open in September." Our taxi was 6 Euros to the museum and 7 Euros back to the hotel (the return was during rush hour and, I think, cost more because it was a more exciting ride!). Here's a photo of the museum.

 

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The new museum has a lot more items on display, but is less camera friendly than the old location. Some areas allow photos with no flash while the best areas prohibit photography. Since the signage is not real clear regarding when you can take photos, I generally watched to see if others were using their cameras. Fortunately, they don't throw you out of the museum if you mistakenly take photos when you shouldn't! Here's some photos from around the museum.

 

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More photos in a moment.

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We took a break from touring to have a late lunch at the museum's restaurant. I know you should never say never, but never again! Because the restaurant was crowded, the manager asked if we were willing to share a table. We were seated at a table with an older Greek couple who was touring the museum. They were a delightful couple and he was quite fluent in English. Having already ordered, they were served their meals shortly after we sat down. After noticing we weren't getting any service, the man got the server's attention so we could order. Although we asked for water, our server never brought us any water. We only got water when our dining companion got a different server to bring us water. I could go on with our experience, but no need to beat this dead horse anymore. Let's just say this late lunch into an early dinner. On the positive side, the food was good.

 

Here's a few more photos from the museum.

 

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Here's the view from the restaurant.

 

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After leaving the museum, we began walking down the street in order to find a taxi. Here's a couple of photos I took on our way to a main street where the taxis are located.

 

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On the way, DW spotted a gelato shop, so of course we had to stop for our mango fix.

 

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We've been told to have our luggage in the lobby by 8 AM tomorrow and we'll leave on the bus at 11:30 AM for our trip. That's when our real adventure begins!

 

Until later.

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This morning began with the alarm clock buzzing at 7:15 AM, something these retirees don't like! After a quick shower, I took our bags to the lobby, where they were quickly loaded on the luggage transfer truck. Shortly thereafter, DW and I went to the buffet breakfast, where we found a table outside. The weather was perfect for our leisurely meal. After gathering our small items from the room, we checked out of the hotel and then sat in the lobby where we sent emails to friends. HAL arranged two buses to take passengers at this hotel to the port of Piraeus. As we were standing near the door, a fellow passenger who had eaten dinner at the rooftop restaurant a couple of days ago passed by. DW said, "Hi E-----." He responded with a greeting, kissed her on the check and asked how years had it been since they had seen each other. DW responded, "Two days." It was pretty dark at the rooftop restaurant.

 

The bus ride to the port took less than 30 minutes, where we then stood in a looong line. Fortunately, things moved fairly well. After getting our boarding passes and successfully passing through security, we started towards the gangway leading to our home for the next 36 days. While passing bin after bin of luggage, we said a silent prayer that our bags would make it to the ship.

 

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First thing I do onboard is to make sure we've boarded on the right day!

 

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After dropping our things off in the room, we went to the main dining room, which was pretty quiet. We both got the burger.

 

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After lunch, we departed the ship in order to go to the tariff free shop next to the dock in order to buy two bottles of wine. Upon returning to the ship, we were asked about the wine. We showed our two bottles and were on our way without being asked any more questions. I really wonder whether the checker knew we had just boarded as opposed to being in-transit passengers.

 

More later.

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We had the muster drill at 3:15. We followed the Captain's instructions and started towards station 6 as soon as directed; however, the deck was full by the time we got to our area (and no names had been called yet). That meant we were able to stand up front, which is much nicer than being in the middle of all those people.

 

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After Muster ended, which took 30 minutes, we returned to the room to continue unpacking and for me to begin writing my posts.

 

Here's some photos of our cabin.

 

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Our first view from our balcony.

 

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The ship cast off at 4:30 to begin our short trip to Nafplion.

 

More later.

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